Wood Green Gospel Choir: The London-based choir release an album

Monday 1st June 1998

A superb choir drawn entirely from a London local church are the WOOD GREEN GOSPEL CHOIR. Hughie Lawrence spoke to the choir's director Isaac Carter.

Wood Green Gospel Choir
Wood Green Gospel Choir

GospelOne of the many anomalies of the British gospel scene is that though there are dozens of top rate choirs only a handful have ever made a recording. Hopefully that is at last starting to change. The Wood Green Gospel Choir have long been acknowledged by those in the know as one of Britain's finest and now the London-based choir have an album out. "This Fellowship", distributed by that record label catalyst for the gospel scene Awake Records. I spoke to Isaac Carter, the long time director of the WGGC, and asked him to give me some background. "Our name reflects the local area in North London where we come from," said Isaac. "Our church is actually called the Wood Green New Testament Church Of God (WGNTC), and so when we were forming the choir at that time we thought it would be good if we actually took the name from the area." As well as being the choir's director Isaac plays the keyboards for WGGC. I asked him how he found it submitting the choir to the disciplines of recording a CD. "The album was a very interesting experience for me. Before that I had never written any songs so I sat down and began composing! I was rather surprised at how well the lyrics I had put down and some of the arrangements actually sounded on the album!' WGGC is rather a family affair. Said Isaac. "Just off hand I can think of about two or three brother and sister couples in the choir and there are three or four married couples. My wife is currently in the choir and my sister was in the choir but she's left now to have a baby, so there've been quite a few. Both conductors. Paul Brown and Colin Vassell have sisters in the choir. The vision for the choir was my late father's, the Reverend Isaac Newton Carter. At the time when the WGNTC was formed it was a combination of two churches, one from Tottenham and one from Hornsey in North London. So we had different people from different backgrounds all coming together to form a new church. My dad thought that one of the ways to cement the relationship between the different churches was to start with the young people. So he thought if you had a choir, which drew all of the young people into it; then that would be a way of uniting the church from the base. ie. from the young upwards. We only have members from the church itself. We don't have the advantage or facility to pick and choose from different churches, like some community choirs who can pick and choose different vocalists from different churches and then make up their choir. All our members come from our church. And that means that all the talent that we have, we have to develop and nurture it; to get it to the standard where we feel it can perform." Among the more unusual engagements WGGC have undertaken was a tour of Ireland. Commented Isaac.
"We received an invitation from the Elim Pentecostal movement to come across and minister in some of their churches, but while we were there an opportunity arose to visit Belfast and a place called the Stadium which is right in the heart of Belfast. We went down there and ministered and it was fantastic. The Lord really blessed us and used us to bless the people there. We were the first black choir to go there. In fact we were the first black choir to tour in Northern Ireland. When we went it was the time of the first cease-fire and the Lord really used us to minister to the people. We did about six or seven events. We went to a local school and we did about five churches. We were really kept busy!" Isaac is convinced that there is still a huge potential to communicate through the vehicle of
gospel. "Gospel music in its purest form is message music. Gospel music is not a set of vague lyrics; it's music with a purpose. It's to convey the message of Jesus Christ, to exalt his name to the world. So whenever you sing gospel, in a choir, as a solo vocalist, in a group, you are once again reaffirming the supremacy of Jesus Christ. That in itself is a ministry because you are lifting up and you're exalting the name of Jesus Christ. What's more important though is that when you're doing it under the anointing then it clearly is a ministry. Because if God has given you a talent and you're using it to exalt his name and to tell other people about him then I can't think of any other clearer ministry than that." Isaac is certain that the potential of British gospel is still largely untapped. "WGGC is one of many choirs throughout England ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think the standard of British gospel is vastly underrated. There are a lot of talented singers and choirs and WGGC is one of them. I wouldn't presume to put myself above or beneath any other choir." 1 finish by asking Isaac what plans are afoot to promote "This Fellowship'? "So far as this album's concerned we want to get on the road and promote it, sell it and perform it live. That's what we want to do. It's lovely to do an album, but anyone who's seen us would agree that WGGC is a live kind of choir, very vocal, very kind of gregarious, very exciting. That's what WGGC are. We love performing live. So we want to get on the road with the album. We want to continue to minister in as many places as we can. The Bible says, 'Go ye into all the world," and we have been blessed being able to take that message literally. We have been to Germany about four or five times; we've been to Northern Ireland and to Belgium a couple of times. So we're hoping to expand, by the grace of God, further into Europe." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Hughie Lawrence
Hughie Lawrence is a presenter on Cross Rhythms radio and lives in Stoke-On-Trent.


Reader Comments

Posted by Sean Davis in Edmonton @ 14:37 on Oct 11 2015

Dear Choir Director

We at Edmonton Methodist church in North London N9, will be having a community Gospel concert on the 14th November 2015 at 6pm. and we are looking for a quest choir for our event. We are wondering if you are available on that date above to perform or minister for this event.

This concert is base towards the people in and around the community of Edmonton and the whole of Enfield and It will be great to have you if are available.

If you need any other information about this event, please feel free to contact me on this email address or by phone on 07932060116.

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Sean Davis

Posted by Rona Bent in Hornsey north London @ 19:42 on Nov 13 2010

Fantastic article i am very interested in coming along
to your church please can you forward me contact
details and phone numbers

Thank you


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